Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rice-filled heating pads--in the nick of time!

We had our first snow this morning, just little flurries drifting, and I couldn't capture them with the camera.  We are enjoying hot tea, cocoa and chai, spice cookies, candles and these wonderful rice-filled heating pads I made this weekend for each family member.

They were easy to make and are so appreciated by everyone.  About half an hour before bedtime I begin putting them in the microwave to heat, but I am thinking that I might just stick the whole lot of them in the oven on low for half an hour and be done with it!

Here is how I made them:  For each pack, I used about 3 1/2 lbs. of cheapo rice from a discount grocery.  I poured it into a big bowl and added about 1/2 tsp. of lavender essential oil (for Gemma I used about 10 drops of chamomile essential oil and just about 5 of lavender).  I stirred it up really well to distribute the oils, and then poured the rice into a sack I had made from and old sheet.  I made sure all seams were sewn double to prevent rice-leakage.  The finished dimensions were about 7 1/2 by 15".  Then I made a second, decorative cover.  I guess I could have made them removable and therefore washable, but my main reason was for identification purposes and to give a second layer of protection from leaks.

These take about six minutes on high in the microwave to heat up, but our microwave may or may not heat very well; I've no way of knowing.  The packs stay warm under out covers for several hours.

Just for the sake of comparison, I made my husband one with cherry pits.  These are much lighter and better for putting on a muscle ache, since they don't feel like sacks of concrete!  Two pounds of cherry pits filled up a sack of the same size, took only 3 minutes to heat in the microwave, but was pretty much cooled off in under an hour.  Also, they smell amazing!  But for warming the bed, we will stick to the rice bags.


  1. Snow! My kids would love even flurries. Me... not so much. You paint a pretty picture, though, all snug and warm! God bless you, my friend! Annita +JMJ+

  2. What a good idea! I am not wanting to turn the heat on down here but some nights (and mornings) the beds are cold, so I might make these for the family!

    I have a cherry pit bag too and I love it. I made it two summers ago when we had a ton of cherries and felt bad about tossing the pits. It has been a great thing to have around for aches and pains!

  3. What a great idea. Do you think it's ok to warm them in the oven then? I keep thinking how great heatpacks would be but we don't have a microwave.

  4. OH what a great idea! I so want to do this....must get rice and then get sewing. Genius. Tho.....do your kids use them as bean bags/weapons?? Not that mine EVER would....ahem......

  5. do you sell these on your etsy?

  6. I have oodles of rice - also discount grocery! But I don't know if my husband would let me put it down to 53 at night. He thinks 63 is too cold.

    But they sound like really good ideas. Plus - where did you get your cherry pits? I like that idea even more.

    Traci from Do Fairies Fly Backwards

  7. Wow--so many comments whilst my back was turned!

    Becks: I think that it would be safe enough to heat them in a warming oven, or on very low heat in a regular oven. Naturally, they will take longer to heat, and they mustn't touch a heating element! I know many folks are giving up the microwave, and I have thought of it, too...really I use it for heating pads and defrosting meat at the last minute more than for anything else!

    Coffeemom: Yes, they are flung about like extra-large bean bags when I am not looking. If caught, the offender will forfeit his rice pack for a few chilly nights. But that's why I opted for double-bagging them.

    Jonquil: I thought of selling these, but they are heavy to ship and so easy, I thought no one would go for them. I have cherry pits enough for two bags this size, but the pits are so much more pricey than the rice, I don't know that anyone would want to pay for them.

    Traci: Look online for The Cherry Pit Store. No, I'm not kidding...

  8. Your blog reminded me about my old plans. I think such heating pad will be a perfect Christmas present. Thanks fo the gentle "reminder"!

  9. We put them in the oven. Ours are filled with millet and they smell like fresh baking when they come out of the oven. Depends on size, but takes about 10 mins and they are done. Love the fabric you used, especially the gnome one.

  10. These are great Nadja - I have the on my list to make - as soon as Abby gets a new sewing machine! I was using another blog for instructions by I like yours. I wanted to use cherry pits - because then I think you can throw them in the wash and dryer? Also I do not use a microwave - I have heard they can be a fire hazard in the oven - but maybe wrapping in foil would help? My kids want hot soapstones like in the Little House on the Prairie books!


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